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'What is illegal offline should also be illegal online’ must be at heart of DSA legislative process

FIAD welcomes the European Commission’s proposal on the Digital Services Act (DSA), but urges that changes be made so that the DSA can be a valuable tool in the fight against online piracy.

Co-legislators need to examine the DSA within the current context of large-scale online piracy and incredibly challenging conditions for film distributors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, the closure of cinemas throughout the EU to hinder the spread of the COVID-19 virus has exacerbated the online piracy challenge, as consumers have consumed greater amounts of illegal audiovisual content during lockdown. Data released from MUSO, the global authority on digital piracy, reveals global piracy increased by over 33% when lockdown was in place.

Given the rampant scale of piracy and its serious and scarring impact on the entire European film sector, the importance of the Digital Services Act to support copyright owners in the fight against online infringements cannot be overstated. Article 17 of the Copyright Directive can support efforts, but it only applies to “online content-sharing service providers” and consequently leaves a vast space in the online sphere outside of its scope.

The concept of ‘what is illegal offline should also be illegal online’ must be a guiding principle throughout the DSA legislative process.

To read FIAD's Position Paper on the DSA in full please find it here.


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